Christmas Star


This month you can watch Jupiter and Saturn as they make they move closer and closer together in the night sky.  On December 21, they will be at their closest point.  Many are saying that this is likely what happened at the time of Jesus birth and the star was really just Jupiter and Saturn shining as one.  They are calling it the Christmas Star.

First of all, I don’t believe that Christ was born in December.  So, I don’t buy this at all.  But, let’s say, for the sake of this discussion that Christ was born in December.  Is it possible this conjunction is what the Magi saw in the sky?

Please, take the time to review this entire article.  It will be very informative and hopefully it will bless you. Don’t miss the final video.  It is pretty awesome.


Rare “Christmas Star” to shine in the sky on December 21st
Chuck Nalbone American Pop


Sky Watching Highlights for December 2020

In the month of December, stargazers get ready for some excitement in the sky! Catch the year’s best meteor shower, the Geminids, in the middle of the month. Then, witness an extremely close pairing of Jupiter and Saturn that won’t be repeated for decades. And mark the shortest day of the year on the northern winter solstice. Check out the video below produced by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory to learn more!

What’s Up: December 2020 Skywatching Tips from NASA



Photo Credit

The Magi Visit the New Born Messiah

After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod,  Magi from the east came to Jerusalem  and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.”

When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. When he had called together all the people’s chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Messiah was to be born. “In Bethlehem in Judea,” they replied, “for this is what the prophet has written:

“‘But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
    are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;
for out of you will come a ruler
    who will shepherd my people Israel.’”

Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared. He sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search carefully for the child. As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him.”

After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen when it rose went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route.  Matthew 2: 1-12


NEWS BRIEF: “The ‘Christmas Star’ will be visible in the night sky for the first time in 800 years”
World Net Daily, Dec 6, 2020

“There’s nothing like a little Christmas miracle to inspire cheer after the chaos of 2020. On Dec. 21, people will have the opportunity to experience the same awe as the three wise men when they looked to the sky and saw the “Christmas Star,” or the “Star of Bethlehem,” shining brightly.”

“You’d have to go all the way back to just before dawn on March 4, 1226, to see a closer alignment between these objects visible in the night sky,” Hartigan told Forbes. While stargazers can appreciate the spectacle before it slips away, for Christians, an experience such as this is merely a glimpse of the wonders God can perform.”

“In times such as these, it can be easy to despair, so that’s why the reappearance of the Christmas Star is so significant. It’s a reminder of God’s greatest gift, where He revealed Himself in the form of His Son so His servants would know they are the recipients of the deepest love imaginable.”

“The magi dispensed by King Herod undeniably felt this when the star revealed to them the location of the infant Jesus…”

Image licensed from Dreamstime

No, the ‘Christmas Star’ by which the Magi were guided to the Christ Child was NOT a heavenly star comprised of hot gases!

What is the Biblical definition of this most unusual word?

“Then the cloud [the Shekinah, God’s visible presence] covered the Tent of Meeting, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle!” (Exodus 40:34, Amplified Bible Commentary)

God showed His people during their trek from Egypt to Israel His presence and protection by causing His glory to be manifested as a flame of fire, as the picture, above, illustrates. When God used the Shekinah glory to draw the Magi toward Jesus’ manger, He could control it precisely at all times. He could change direction, and height, and mark the precise spot.

And, because His Shekinah Glory was not a ball of hot gas, God could bring His Shekinah right down upon the stable where Jesus lay.

Please take a moment to read a wonderful expose’ of the genuine meaning of Jesus being born that night (“Where is Christ in Christmas?”, by Berit Kjos)

Image licensed from stock.adobe

Therefore, this conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn on December 21, is not identical to the star which guided the Wise Men –Persian Magito the place where Jesus was born.

Perhaps the greatest question of this entire discussion is how the Magi knew exactly when the Christ Child was to be born? After all, over 600 years had passed since Magi had known the Jewish Prophet Daniel, as both served in the palace courtyard of Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar.

How did the Wise Men know that the star they saw in the Heavens was so special that they set out on a very long journey on camels to go present gifts to the coming King? Wait a minute!! Who told them about a King? Further, these men were not even Jews; they were pagan worshippers of Zoroaster!

How could they have known anything about the impending birth of the Jewish Messiah that had been prophesied for so many years? If we jump almost 33 years later, we see Jesus weeping over the people of Israel, cursing them because they had not recognized Him as Messiah. Jesus said, “[these horrible judgments will come upon you] because you did not know or recognize the time of your visitation.” (Luke 19:44)

We will show that Jesus had every right to expect the people would know when He would appear, because He had revealed the precious timing secret over 600 years before His birth to a prophet named Daniel.

(For full details of this wonderful fulfillment of prophecy and of the unlikely men who were paying attention, please read “THE THREE WISE MEN WHO CAME TO WORSHIP JESUS — HOW DID THEY KNOW WHEN TO COME AND HOW DID THEY KNOW A JEWISH KING WAS ABOUT TO BE BORN?”, NEWS1751)




The fact that Daniel was a high official of the royal government of Babylon is highly significant in our study, because only high government officials or high religious leaders had access to books. There was no printing press at that time. The three Wise Men were scholars and therefore had access to the writings of Daniel. Further, the three Wise Men were Magi, which was an order of the Pagan Medo-Persian religious order of Zoroaster.(1) The Magi were ancient interpreters of dreams and were astrologers (monthly prognosticators), enchanters, sorcerers, and magicians.

As we have studied the plan to produce Antichrist — New World Order — we have realized the terrible importance of Zoroasterianism. One Black Magick Satanist emailed me in 1999 to tell me that I had better understand Zoroasterianism if I could fully understand the coming Antichrist; he further stated that the Antichrist will have his own “bible”, and it was a book written by Friedrich Nietzsche, called, “Thus Spoke Zarathustra“. I bought the book and have it in my library today.

The founder of this mystic group of Black Magick practitioners was “Zarathustra, and is pictured many different ways. Many occultists believe Antichrist will be a reincarnation of Zarathustra. Thus can you see the significance of the “Magi” that came to Jesus’ following the Star of Bethlehem being the pagan followers of Zarathustra! Remember, the Bible teaches that God commands even the demonic host and that He many times uses evil spirits to fulfill His prophecies [Revelation 16:13-14]

We believe it likely that God used these pagan Magi to recognize the prophetic times, even though His Chosen People, to whom God gave the prophecy in the first place, had long since ignored and forgotten it. We shall study how these “Wise Men” of the Babylonian King came to the point where they fully believed in this specific timetable for the appearance of the Jewish Christ, Jesus.


King Nebuchadnezzar called the the magi “Wise Men” because they had convinced him they could give him the best advice and interpret any dream. However, today, we would call them witches. Whenever any pagan king of that day conquered another nation, he would take their best young men and their best “Wise Men” to his court to advise him.

We see them in the Bible in the court of the Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar. In fact, the Magi held Daniel in very high esteem, because he had saved the lives of the Magi of Daniel’s day. You remember the story:

King Nebuchadnezzar had a horrifying dream sent to him from God, a dream he could neither remember the details nor what it meant. The King gathered together all his “Wise Men”, including Daniel, and demanded they tell him what the dream was and what it meant. He threatened all the Wise Men with death if they could not tell him what he dreamed and what it meant. As the King’s soldiers were rounding up all the Wise Men to put them to death, Daniel asked for a one-day extension. That night, after much prayer from Daniel and his three friends, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, that God would reveal the dream to Daniel. God did, and King Nebuchadnezzar spared the lives of Daniel, his three friends, and all the Magi. [Daniel 2:1-19]

From that moment on, the Magi revered Daniel and his God-given insights greatly. They did not become believers in God as the only god of the universe; rather, they believed Him to be the most powerful god of that time period, and certainly very powerful during any age. They still remained polytheists.

But, they knew of all Daniel’s writings, undoubtedly had copies of the Book of Daniel, and they knew of the prophecy of Daniel 9:24-27. At the time of the appearance of the Star, they knew they were within a lifetime of this prophecy coming to pass. When they saw the Star, their knowledge of this remarkably precise prophecy, plus the promptings of the Holy Spirit, caused them to embark on the very long journey to Israel to pay their homage to the Jewish Messiah.

Let us now consider this amazing prophecy from the wonderful book of Daniel.

We are going to study the prophecy concerning the timing of the coming of Jesus Christ, given in unbelievable detail 600 years before Jesus was born. You will see that God foretold to the exact day when the Jews would be officially presented their long-awaited Messiah! [Fulfilled to the letter, Matthew 21:1-11]


Daniel 9:24-26:Seventy weeks of years, or 490 years are decreed upon your people and upon your holy city Jerusalem, to finish and put an end to transgression, to seal up and make full the measure of sin, to purge away and make expiation and reconciliation for sin, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up vision and prophecy and to anoint a holy of holies. Know, therefore, and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem until the coming of the anointed one, a prince, shall be seven weeks of years, and sixty-two weeks of years; it shall be built again with city square and moat, but in troublous times. And after the 62 weeks of years, shall the anointed one be cut off (killed) and shall have nothing and no one belonging to and defending Him…”

The remaining one week is found in verse 27, and refers to the last seven years of earth’s history, the period which we know as the “Great Tribulation”.

The term “Weeks of Years” was a common Jewish term. It meant literally seven (7) years. The term comes from God’s commandment in Leviticus 25:3-4 to farm a piece of land for only six years, allowing it to lie fallow for the seventh. This seven-year period came to be known as a “week of years”. Therefore, Seventy Weeks of Years was 490 Hebrew years.

Note this prophecy contains three parts:

1. 7 Weeks of Years (49 Hebrew Years)
2. 62 Weeks of Years (434 Hebrew Years)
3. 1 Week of Years (7 Hebrew Years)

At the precise point in history when the 7 + 62 Weeks of Years occurred, Israel could expect Messiah to announce Himself as Messiah. What great news! This means that Israel could not miss Messiah. All they had to do was to be aware of this prophecy, to count the weeks of years and be cognizant of current events in Israel as they unfolded.

The fact that the Jewish people missed the fact that the “weeks of years” had come to completion at the time of Jesus’ birth and ministry is one of the great tragic stories of the entire Bible, and one of Satan’s greatest miracles. Once you understand the facts of this truth, your faith will dramatically increase.

This study will show us several things:

1. Why the Wise Men knew the time for Messiah was close.
2. Why Israel missed Messiah.
3. How this applies to us today.
4. What remains ahead of us.

Let us now consider the meaning of the prophecy.

I. The Duration of the Prophecy

This prophecy stipulated that Messiah would be presented to Israel and would be killed after 69 weeks of years had elapsed from its starting point. When we multiply 69 times 7, we understand that the time involved here equals 483 Jewish years. Since the Jewish calendar contains 360 days, we can easily see that this prophecy is precisely 173,880 days long. Therefore, we can expect that exactly 173,880 days after the prophecy started, Messiah would present Himself to Israel as their long-awaited Messiah-King.

II. The Starting Point of the Prophecy (Daniel 9:25a)

In this verse , God said the prophecy would begin “from the going forth (the issuing) of the commandment to restore and rebuild Jerusalem...” At the time God gave Daniel this prophecy, Israel was a slave nation under Babylon; however, God had foretold that this slavery would last only 70 years. This 70-year period was rapidly coming to a close; indeed, non-Jewish history records that the Medo-Persian emperor Artaxerxes issued just such a decree on March 14, 445 B.C. Therefore, precisely 173,880 days from this day should bring us to some significant event in Jesus’ life which presented Him to the nation Israel as their Messiah.

III. The Mathematics Of The Prophecy

A. The First Seven Weeks (49 Jewish Years)

If you study the book of Nehemiah, you will find the account of the Jewish pilgrimage to rebuild Jerusalem following King Artaxerxes’ decree. The prophet Nehemiah assumed charge of this rebuilding effort, which was carried out in such extreme hardship and danger that the builders carried swords with them as they were building the walls. Thus was fulfilled precisely the prophecy in verse 25b,”…it shall be built again with city square and moat, but in troublous times.”

This effort began in 445 B.C. and culminated in 396 B.C., exactly 49 years, just as foretold.

B. The Second Period (62 Weeks of Years, 434 years)

Daniel 9:26 foretells that the “anointed One” would come after this period and would then be killed. This wording is understood by most conservative scholars to refer to Jesus Christ, not at His birth, but at His presentation as the Messiah-Prince. (2) “There were only two events in the life of Christ when He was officially set apart. One was His baptism and the other was His triumphal entry into Jerusalem.” (3) This latter event has become known as Palm Sunday. When did Palm Sunday occur? “The Messiah (Jesus) came to Jerusalem on Passover in the year A.D. 32, which was April 6.” (4)

C. The two periods combined (7 + 62 = 69 Weeks of Years, or 483 Jewish years, or 173,880 days).

* When we count from March 14, 445 B.C. to April 6, 32 A.D., we have 477 years, 24 days. However, we must deduct one year because only one year lapses between 1 B.C. and 1 A.D. This gives us 476 years, 24 days or 173,764 days.

* Then, we must add 119 days to account for the 119 leap years during these 476 years (476 divided by 4). Now, we have 173,883 days.

* However, there is a slight inaccuracy in the Julian calendar when compared to the solar year. The Royal Observatory in London calculates that a Julian year is 1/128th of a day longer than the Jewish solar year. When we multiply 476 years times 1/128, we get three days. Subtracting three from our figure above, we arrive at the 173,880 days. (5)

Therefore, there are exactly 69 Weeks of Years (173,880 days) between the decree of King Artaxerxes in 445 B.C to rebuild Jerusalem to Palm Sunday, April 6, 32 A.D.!! God foretold to the day when Messiah would present Himself to Israel as their Messiah-King. We see this event recorded in Matthew 21:1-11.

But, you protest, this prophecy was for 70 weeks of years. Therefore, since Jesus was presented as the Jewish Messiah precisely at the end of the 69th week, what is to become of the final 70th week? Doesn’t the world have one more “week of years” (7 years) ahead of us? Yes, it certainly does. You will discover how this last “week of years” will unfold by studying the Book of Revelation. That Book is Israel’s 70th Week of Years.

At the end of the 70th Week, Jesus shall return to the Mount of Olives after He has vanquished the armies of Antichrist at Bozrah and Petra. He shall return to the one-third remnant (Zechariah 13:8-9) and they shall receive Him as Israel’s Messiah.


Now we come to the next point: God had wonderfully foretold to Daniel the exact day on which Messiah was to announce Himself as King. The learned Magi knew of Daniel’s prophecy and of his reputation of reliability in such matters. They knew the story recorded in Daniel, where their own Zoroastrian brethren had not been able to interpret the King’s dream, but Daniel’s God had revealed it to this Jewish prophet, and Daniel had used this information to save the lives of the Magi! To the Zoroastrians, Daniel was a phenomenal individual, one whom they had greatly respected in every generation of Magi since Daniel.

Therefore, just prior to Jesus’ birth, they had to have been buzzing with anticipation, because they knew they were living within the life-time (approximately 30-40 years) of the completion of the specified time period. They knew that, if one was to announce Himself as Messiah in just 30 years, he would have to be born now. Thus were the Magi looking for a sign. The Holy Spirit was also not leaving anything to chance, and was prompting their minds to anticipation and to a proper understanding of what they were about to observe in the Heavens.

Even the gifts which the Magi brought to Jesus suggests that they were being prompted by Daniel’s prophecy, and fully understood the prophetic and religious implications of Jesus’ birth, ministry, and death. Consider the gifts they presented to Jesus:

1.. Gold–Daniel said in 9:25 that the coming Messiah was to be a “prince”. This term denotes royalty, a king. Gold was the perfect gift for a king.

2. Frankincense–God stipulated in Exodus 30:34-36 that frankincense was to be prepared for the “purpose of sacrificial fumigation”. (6) Jesus Christ was killed on Calvary as the Perfect Sacrifice which would be acceptable to God to take away the sins of all who would accept it. Did Daniel’s prophecy reveal this sacrificial aspect? Yes!! In 9:26, God revealed that Messiah would be “cut off” (sacrificially killed).

Interestingly, frankincense was also used by the priests during the regular service in the Temple. Therefore, this frankincense gift could also point to Jesus Christ as the ultimate High Priestly, an office which He assumed after His ascension into Heaven.

3. Myrrh–The Jews used Myrrh for embalming bodies for burial preparation. (7) Again, the verse quoted above would have prepared the Magi to bring this gift.

It is extremely interesting that two of the three gifts which the Magi presented to baby Jesus related to His death and burial. The Daniel prophecy contained all the information which the Magi needed to know to bring these gifts. They studied this prophecy in its entirety and knew exactly the kind of gifts to bring!


The second question is why Israel’s spiritual leaders missed this prophecy, when the pagan Magi did not. The answer is really quite simple. Several hundred years before Christ was born, Jewish leaders began to believe and propagate two grievously erroneous teachings. First, they taught that the sacred Scriptures could not be taken literally because they were not totally inspired by God, and thus contained errors. Secondly, they taught that prophecies were not to be taken literally, but spiritually. Prophetic books such as Daniel were not even taught anymore because they contained so much prophecy. After several generations had come and gone, each teaching and believing this nonsense, spiritual leaders of Jesus’ day were completely unaware of this prophecy. Thus, they were unaware of the “time of their visitation”.

The significance of this study to today is both simple and obvious. The same wrong teaching concerning inspiration of the Bible and its inerrancy is occurring throughout this nation. Most people today are unaware that all 300+ prophecies concerning Jesus’ Second Coming are coming to pass or have already occurred. These people are unaware that this has never occurred before. Therefore, many people will miss Jesus’ Second Visitation, to their eternal peril.

Jesus said emphatically that we who are familiar with Second Coming prophecy would be able to know that He is close to arriving (Matthew 24:33). Jesus also told us what kind of attitude we Christians are to have as we see His Second Coming approaching. He said:

What I say to you, I say to everybody: Give strict attention, be cautious, active, alert, and watch!” [Mark 13:37; Parallel Bible, KJV/Amplified Bible Commentary]

This means that each of us should be actively witnessing to our co-workers and friends, we should be very alert to world events as they are occurring, and we should watch our Scriptures daily so the Holy Spirit can keep us true to Jesus Christ as we enter this deceiving time.

But, we need to apply yet another teaching from this prophecy: God is precise concerning the fulfillment of all His prophecies. God told us:

“Seek ye out of the book of the LORD, and read: no one of these shall fail, none shall want her mate: for my mouth it hath commanded, and his spirit it hath gathered them.” [Isaiah 34:16; Ibid]

Not one of God’s prophecies shall fail, so He has commanded us to “seek out” the applicable prophecies so we will be aware of them, thus not being surprised when they are fulfilled, and certainly not missing them altogether.

Further, God will fulfill all His End Time prophecies with as much precision as He demonstrated in this prophecy above; however, God has decided, in His great Sovereignty, not to reveal to mankind the precise schedule of the appearance of Antichrist. Jesus has only told us that we will know the approximate season when we see all End Time prophecies coming to pass, altogether. We are to leave the exact timing to God at this End of the Age.

Yet, people everywhere are pressing End Time ministries to set dates. People are so anxious to know that which we cannot know that we are likely to get discouraged when a false date for an event does not come to pass. We must keep alert, and watching, and active for Jesus Christ as we see the prophecies being fulfilled or see the stage being set for their fulfillment. Yet, we must be patient and let God bring it all to pass in His good timing.

To try to set dates is to fall into Satan’s trap. He knows that humans get discouraged easily, and he knows how anxious God’s people are to be Raptured and in Heaven. Therefore, if he can get us to agonize over specific dates, he knows he can get us mightily discouraged, even to the point of getting some people to lose faith.

Until Jesus does come, we shall triumphantly live our daily lives according to the premise of this poem.


“I’m part of the fellowship of the unashamed. I have Holy Spirit power. The dye has been cast. I have stepped over the line.
“I won’t look back, let up, slow down, back away, or be still.
“My past is redeemed; my present makes sense; my future is secure.”
“I’m finished and done with low living, smooth knees, mundane talking, cheap living.”
“I no longer need prosperity, position, promotions, or popularity.”
“I no longer have to be right, first, recognized, praised or rewarded.”
“I now live by faith, lean on His presence, walk by patience, lift by prayer, and labor by power.”
“My face is set, my gait is fast, my goal is heaven, my road is narrow, my way rough, my companions few, my Guide reliable, my mission clear.”
“I cannot be bought, compromised, detoured, lured away, turned back, deluded, or delayed.”
“I won’t give up, shut up, let up, until I have stayed up, prayed up, paid up, preached up for the cause of Christ.”
“I am a disciple of Jesus. I must go till He comes, give till I drop, and preach till all know.”
“When He comes for His own my banner will be clear.”


We are so very close to the time when Jesus returns for His Church to take them away from the Great Tribulation. If you are not looking forward with anticipation to His Rapture maybe it is because you are not truly saved. Get your heart right with Him today.


Matthew’s Gospel records certain events that accompanied the birth of Jesus Christ. In his account alone is a record of the appearance of the “star of Bethlehem” and the coming of “wise men” from the east, guided by the star to the newborn King of the Jews.

Wise men, or magi, came to Jerusalem, seeking the King of the Jews. They were “from the east” (Matt.2:1)1—men who lived in a region of the world that was east of Jerusalem; consequently, they traveled westward. The guidance that was given to them took them from their eastern location to a destination west of their point of departure, not just in a general westerly direction, but to a specific location, the city of Jerusalem.

Any hypothesis of the star of Bethlehem must be able to explain how these men could be guided on a westward journey and how that guidance could be maintained over a fairly long period of time. Some who adhere to a supernatural explanation, as we shall see, place the guiding star in the west, stationary over Jerusalem, leading the magi in their journey. From this perspective, the magi, while in the east, saw the star in the west and followed it. In my view, not only were the magi guided westward by the star, they received their guidance while the star remained “in the east” (Matt.2:2). That is, the star, while in the east, guided them toward a destination in the west. Both views, of course, agree on this: the event was a supernatural one.

Some have tried to harmonize Matthew’s account with naturally occurring astronomical phenomena by limiting the magi’s observation of the star “in the east” to occurring only at its rising and not continually. Michael Molnar has speculated that “in the east” could be an astronomical term meaning “at the heliacal rising” or “at the morning appearance”2 of a planet. Matthew, however, is not an astronomer who is using technical language: he is a tax collector turned disciple and gospel writer who is using a simple term that is familiar to his readers to refer to where the magi were from and where the star was.

The wise men arrived in Jerusalem. My assumption, consistent with Matthew’s record of a later reappearance (Matt.2:9),3 is that the star disappeared.

Herod secretly questioned the magi as to “the time the star appeared” (Matt.2:7). Herod (and others in Jerusalem) had not seen the star at all and had to ask the magi when they had seen the star, not because he (and his advisers) simply had missed some natural yet rare astronomical phenomenon (or at least missed its importance), but because he could not see the “star,” nor could anyone else except the magi. Herod had an evil motive (see Matt.2:12–18) and told the magi that they should go to Bethlehem to find the object of their search. The end of their journey was near—only a few miles to the south, but they needed more specific guidance, not just to a town, but to the house where the King of the Jews awaited them.

The magi started on the last leg of their journey, heading southward toward Bethlehem; “and lo, the star, which they had seen in the east went on before them, until it came and stood over where the child was” (Matt.2:9). Matthew records a sense of astonishment (“lo!” or “behold!”) when they saw the star again, the same star they had seen before “in the east.”4

The star not only had disappeared and then reappeared, it had also moved to a stationary place over a specific house in Bethlehem. If previous behaviors of the star are difficult to harmonize with natural astronomical phenomena, this one surely challenges all attempts at such an explanation. This was truly a unique and miraculous occurrence; it was “His star” (Matt.2:2) and its purpose was to bring wise men from the east westward to Jerusalem and southward to a house in Bethlehem, “where the Child was” (Matt.2:9), and where they would fall down and worship Him (Matt.2:11).


Ernest L. Martin believed that “the star of Bethlehem can be explained in a thoroughly natural way.”5 Others have thought so, too. Johannes Kepler, a seventeenth-century astronomer, believed that the star could have been a supernova. A nova (Latin for “new”) is a star that has suddenly increased in brightness and therefore appears to be a new star in the night sky. It is, however, not a new star at all, but a long-lived star that is in the process of changing and maybe even dying; it is new only to earthly observers. The word supernova describes a star that grows in visibility to a much greater degree (and for different reasons). Both supernovas and novas will, of course, remain in their fixed positions on the celestial sphere and, thereby, rotate daily from east to west with the rest of the stars.

Others have proposed a more transient phenomenon: a comet. A comet is a “dirty snowball” orbiting the sun, usually in a highly elliptical orbit. As it nears the sun, solar radiation vaporizes gases and particles of dirt from the comet. These flow away from the comet nucleus, forming a head, or coma, and a tail that grows in length and brightness as the comet approaches the sun and then decreases as it recedes.

Colin Humphreys has argued that the star of Bethlehem was a comet that “was visible in 5BC, and described in ancient Chinese records.”6 His explanation involves the occurrence of conjunctions. A conjunction of planets occurs when two or more planets, in their individual paths across earth’s sky, come into close proximity, sometimes (though very rarely) close enough that they almost seem to merge into a single bright object. His argument depends on several factors: (1)the magi’s ability to decipher the theological significance of repeated conjunctions of Jupiter and Saturn in 7BC, a conjunction of Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn in Pisces in 6 BC, and, finally, the appearance of a comet in the constellation Capricornus in 5BC; (2)their association of the constellation Pisces with Israel; and (3)their grasp of the supposed allusion of the prophet Daniel to the constellations Capricornus and Aries (Dan.8:5–21).

Thoroughly natural” explanations like those of Martin, Molnar, and Humphreys often involve complicated movements of planets that may involve a conjunction of planets or the movement of a planet behind the sun or the moon (an occultation). Roger Sinnott described a close conjunction of Venus and Jupiter that occurred on the evening of June17, 2BC, in the constellation of Leo the Lion.7 Martin and Craig Chester have endorsed and expanded on this “great celestial dance,” correlating other lesser conjunctions, eclipses, full moons, and planetary retrograde loops with historical events.8

Michael Molnar believes that “the answers to our questions about the Star of Bethlehem lie in the philosophical and religious practices of the people who interpreted celestial events as portents.”9 The conclusion from his extensive research is that April17, 6BC was the date of the birth of Christ. He writes, “Any horoscope drawn for April17, 6BC, [must have been] regal because the Sun, the Moon, Jupiter, and Saturn are in the sign of Aries, conditions which perfectly and simultaneously fulfill the major regal principles [of Greek astrology]! And amazingly, Jupiter, the Magi’s star, was heliacally rising in the east and in a close conjunction (occultation) with the Moon, which gave even more regal significance to that day.”10


Christian commentators generally come to one of three conclusions regarding the star of Bethlehem: (1)a few ignore the question of the nature and behavior of the star altogether ; (2)some accept a naturalistic explanation; and (3)some say the explanation is supernatural and miraculous but leave it at that.

The handful of commentators who make no attempt whatsoever to explain the star or to offer an opinion about it believe that it is unnecessary to identify the actual star, confess a lack of interest in the question, or declare their belief that it does not matter. Choosing not to dwell on these questions, Charles Spurgeon, for example, declared that they “are not of much importance to us.”11

Some commentators, while accepting all the other miraculous aspects of the birth of Christ, prefer a more natural and “scientific” explanation of the star, such as: “The testimony of the Scriptures…is supported by the testimony of nature.”12 Origen (third century AD) considered the star “to have been a new star, unlike any of the other well-known planetary bodies, either those in the firmament above or those among the lower orbs, but partaking of the nature of those celestial bodies which appear at times, such as comets, or…meteors.”13 Spurgeon pronounced the star “an unusual luminary”14 and offered the explanation that it “was probably a meteor, or moving light, which having shone long enough in the western heavens to guide them to Judea, then ceased to be visible; but shone forth again as they quitted Jerusalem.”15

Joseph Addison Alexander wrote of the planetary conjunction hypothesis, “This astronomical solution is…from its scientific character and from the high authority on which it rests, more satisfactory than the assumption of a transient meteor, a comet, or a purely miraculous appearance, which would here be less impressive than a natural phenomenon, coincident with such a juncture in the moral world, and showing both to be under the same infinitely powerful and wise control.”16

Donald Hagner agreed that the star “may well be…a ‘natural’ astronomical phenomenon”;17however, what he accepted as a natural occurrence at the beginning of the story (the appearance of the star) became for him only “myth” later (the reappearance of the star): “This verse [Matt.2:9] makes difficult the explanation of the star as a strictly ‘natural’ astronomical phenomenon…If the ‘natural’ explanation of the star is accepted nevertheless, then the present verse…must be understood either as a touch of romantic myth growing out of the historical kernel or else as referring to something actually experienced by the magi and interpreted in terms of the leitmotif of the star that first ‘led’ them from the east to Jerusalem.”18

A few other writers incorporate elements of both the natural and the miraculous in their comments, but in the end offer no real explanation: “a remarkable astrological phenomenon”;19“this unusual stellar manifestation”;20 “a new phenomenon in the sky”;21 “I am inclined to think that Matthew is depicting a miraculous star, a ‘Wunderstern,’ that took on a natural star’s form.”22 The opinion of Ignatius (second century AD) was that “a star shone forth in heaven above all the other stars, the light of which was inexpressible, while its novelty struck men with astonishment. And all the rest of the stars, with the sun and moon, formed a chorus to this star, and its light was exceedingly great above them all. And there was agitation felt as to whence this new spectacle came, so unlike everything else [in the heavens].”23 Calvin believed that “it was not a natural star, but extra-ordinary, for it was not of the order of nature…None of this accords with natural stars. It is more probable that it was like a comet, seen in the atmosphere rather than in the heaven.”24

Most Christian commentators clearly support a supernatural approach, and most of those writers are content to declare the event “miraculous” without further comment: “it was a miracle”;25 “a special sign, a miraculous star”;26 “an unusual star…supernatural rather than natural”;27 “a miracle…a special light in the sky”;28 “the strange star…a supernatural phenomena [sic].”29

Charles Eerdman declared the star to be “some sign in the heaven…It seems probable that the guidance was supernatural. Something like a star in appearance, but near the earth, may have been granted to lead those travelers to their sacred goal.”30 R.C.H. Lenski wrote, “It ought to be plain that this was not a star such as others that our astronomers observe and study…what these magi saw was a startling phenomenon…a miraculous phenomenon.”31 Reflecting on Matthew2:9 and the reappearance of the star, Craig Blomberg concluded, “But regardless of how much the star had traveled, its motion here seems to require a supernatural event. Various attempts to link the star with different astronomical phenomena, especially for purposes of dating…prove interesting but are probably irrelevant.”32

The opinion of John Broadus was this: “Taking Matthew’s language according to its obvious import, we have to set aside the above [natural] explanations, and to regard the appearance as miraculous; conjecture as to its nature will then be to no profit. The supernatural is easily admitted here, since there were so many miracles connected with the Savior’s birth.”33

David Hill and Ed Glasscock cautioned their readers against any attempt at all at natural explanation. Hill declared, “The patently miraculous character of the star in the narrative makes it gratuitous to seek a material explanation of it from astronomical science.”34 Glasscock stated, “Attempts to associate this star with certain conjunctions of the planets or other natural astronomical phenomena are unnecessary and unprofitable. There is no need to try to justify Matthew’s account with human reasoning because none of the explanations could offer more credibility to the account.… In reality, any attempt to explain the event by natural phenomena becomes derogatory rather than honoring to God.”35

Spurgeon came closest to a supernatural explanation based on additional biblical evidence: “It must have been a star occupying quite another sphere from that in which the planets revolve. We believe it to have been a luminous appearance in mid-air; probably akin to that which led the children of Israel through the wilderness, which was a cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night.”36 John MacArthur and James Montgomery Boice agreed. The star was “surely the glory of God, blazing as if it were an extremely bright star—visible only to the eyes for whom it was intended to be seen,”37 “a miraculous phenomenon, possibly an appearance of the Shekinah glory.”38


Let me now offer a different hypothesis of the star as a supernatural event. I propose that it was a source of light in the sky (as are naturally occurring astronomical objects), but that this was a different kind of source, emitting a different kind of light.

My fundamental premise is this: the star was an opening in the supernatural, other-dimensional boundary that separates heaven and earth; it was a tear in the fabric of heaven. God made an opening so that the light of heaven shone on the earth. This was, I believe, the star of Bethlehem, and it was a heavenly light that guided the magi.

This proposal of an opening of heaven is consistent with other biblical accounts. When Jesus was baptized, heaven was opened (Matt.3:16; Mark1:10; Luke3:21). When Saul met the Lord Jesus on the road to Damascus, “suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him” (Acts9:3). On special occasions, then, God has opened heaven and sent light from heaven to earth.

This special opening in the earth/heaven boundary would have appeared in the sky either to the west or to the east of the initial location of the magi. Since this source of light was not connected in any natural way to the celestial sphere (along with the sun, moon, stars, planets, and comets), it could remain stationary with respect to the earth. All the naturally occurring astronomical objects rise in the east and set in the west from day to day, and they drift on the celestial sphere over longer periods of time. The star of Bethlehem, however, stayed just above the western horizon, beckoning the magi to Jerusalem, or behind them, on the eastern horizon, throughout their journey. In either case, they saw this star in a fixed location in the sky: there it appeared and there it stood.

This opening in heaven (God’s abode) would not have been visible to other earthly observers (Herod had not seen it). The opening would have been near the wise men,39 low in the sky, emitting the light from heaven, not in all directions as a natural star does, but in a well-defined, narrow beam, much like today’s lasers.

Exactly how this light provided guidance depends on where one locates the star and the magi. Some place the magi in the east and the star in the west.40 “The magi, and not the star, were in the east and followed the star in the western sky.”41 In this view, the heavenly opening is in front of the wise men. They observe this unusual phenomenon,42 that is, light from a “star” that remains stationary in the west, and follow it to Jerusalem, much as they followed this same “star” as it “went on before them” to Bethlehem in the south.

Some place the magi in the east and the star in the east (“We have seen His star in the east”).43 If this was the case, then the light from heaven, shining from behind the magi, would have served as a source of illumination on their path westward.44 Consequently, this opening in heaven’s fabric is in a fixed location in the eastern sky, and the light is shining on or in front of the magi much as it did on Paul when the light flashed “around him.“

Isaiah prophesied, “The people who walk in darkness will see a great light; those who live in a dark land, the light will shine on them” (Isa.9:2), as he foresaw the birth of the Prince of Peace (9:6). Matthew saw the fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy in Jesus’ coming and preaching in the region of Zebulun and Naphtali (see Isa.9:1–2; Matt.4:12–17). Jesus is the Light to the Gentiles; in Him is the prophecy fulfilled. I think Isaiah’s words may also invite a literal reading of light shining on some future God-seekers: they lived “in a [spiritually] dark land” and saw “a great [heavenly] light,” which shone “on them,” and it guided them to the “child [who would] be born.” The illumination was sufficient for them to travel at night or during the day,45 and it brought the wise travelers finally to the western limit of their journey: Jerusalem. At that time, according to this scenario, the opening in heaven was closed; the star disappeared.

God waited as the wise men met with Herod and received further directions to turn southward toward Bethlehem. The directions were accurate and true to Scripture, but God was not going to leave the magi without His supernatural guidance and confirmation. As the wise men turned toward the south to continue their search for the King of the Jews, “Lo, the star, which they had seen in the east, went on before them” (Matt.2:9). The source of heavenly illumination opened to their south, over Bethlehem, and the light from heaven beckoned the magi to their final destination.

The wise men followed the star as it moved before them “until it came and stood over where the Child was” (Matt.2:9). Whether by positioning the heavenly opening over the house (and in the line of sight of the magi) or by illuminating the house itself with light from heaven, God guided the wise men to their final destination. They did what they came to do and departed. The opening(s) in the heavenly fabric did what it was meant to do, then closed.


The star of Bethlehem was, I believe, a supernatural event, and its nature and behavior can be explained reasonably using a consistently biblical approach. John Chrysostom (fourth century AD) was right:

For if ye can learn what the star was, and of what kind, and whether it were one of the common stars, or new and unlike the rest, and whether it was a star by nature or a star in appearance only, we shall easily know the other things also. Whence then will these points be manifest? From the very things that are written. Thus, that this star was not of the common sort, or rather not a star at all, as it seems at least to me, but some invisible power transformed into this appearance, is in the first place evident from its very course. For there is not, there is not any star that moves by this way…[it was] some power highly endued with reason.46

In the end, by adopting this “light-from-heaven” approach, I have not denied the importance and reliability of good science; we have simply said that astronomy (or astrology) is not a necessary factor in the interpretation of Matthew2:1–11. Of course, I can offer no tangible evidence that this hypothesis is absolutely correct. This was a unique, miraculous event; God employed unique, miraculous means to bring it about; and Scripture is a necessary and sufficient source of understanding of the means. Preachers and teachers of God’s Word can take heart in knowing that they now can offer a biblically based, fully consistent description of the nature and behavior of the star of Bethlehem without feeling inadequate in astronomical matters or, in fact, relying on them at all.



Was it a Miracle or a Fable? Was it the North Star? (excerpt only)

Bethlehem star Christmas night sky
Was the star of Bethlehem from the first Christmas a miracle?. Ryan Lane/Getty Images

The Light of the World

Why would God send a star to lead people to Jesus on the first Christmas? It could have been because the star’s bright light symbolized what the Bible later records Jesus saying about his mission on Earth: “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” (John 8:12).

Ultimately, writes Bromiley in The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, the question that matters most isn’t what the Star of Bethlehem was, but to whom it lead people. “One must realize that the narrative does not give a detailed description because the star itself was not important. It was mentioned only because it was a guide to the Christ child and a sign of His birth.”


Nov 27, 2015
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